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Ronita Torcato

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A curtain raiser on the MAMI 18th Mumbai Film Festival Oct 20-27,2016

MAMI 18th Mumbai Film Festival returns bigger and better than before
by Ronita Torcato
MAMI, the 18th Mumbai Film festival returns October 20-27 even bigger and better than before showcasing as many as 175 films from 54 countries, three special awards and a Country Focus(Turkey). The curtain raiser press conference was a star-studded affair with A-list Board of Trustees in attendance. Karan Johar announced the award for the Best Indian Female Filmmaker which has prize money of Rs 15 lakh (not nearly as generous as the competitive sections, Rs 45 lakhs )  The other two awards are for “Best Film on Gender Equality” (in partnership with Oxfam, prize money Rs ten lakhs) and for Excellence in Writing on Cinema” written in English and Hindi. This Award carries a cash prize of Rs. 2.5 lakhs for the winner from each language category. 
Actor Rahul Bose, Oxfam's Global Ambassador believes the award will "alert people that there is something called gender sensitivity in a movie. I don’t think most film makers have that consciousness as yet."
Other celebrities have also pledged support for the Oxfam-MAMI award. Award winning actor and Oxfam Global Ambassador Gael Garcia Bernal says, "Films are accomplices of social change. They serve as catalysts,highlighting the tangent of an issue that needs to be addressed”.
The 18th MAMI will open at the iconic Opera House with Indian actor Konkana Sen Sharma’s directorial debut A Death in the Gunj, which spotlights “conflicted ideas of masculinity”. Sensharma's film is one of eight by women filmmakers.The Country Focus program will screen 10 films from Turkey, including directors like Zeki Demirkubuz and Nuri Bilge Ceylan.On the sidelines, is a Turkey-India Cinema Industry Forum with the objective of co-productions and cultural cooperation between the two countries.
Each year, MAMI honours film-makers for Excellence in Cinema. This year, the Indian Excellence in Cinema award goes to filmmaker Sai Paranjpye whose career has spanned over four decades. The international award honours Chinese director Jia Zhangke, whose work offers a unique perspective on a transitional generation. 
 Milind Dhaimade's directorial debut feature, Tu Hai Mera Sunday (You Are My Sunday!) will have a world premiere at the 60th BFI London Film Festival in mid-October.The film will have its India premiere at MAMI in the competition category, “India Gold” which screens the best of Indian films from across the country.The movie features an ensemble cast comprising TV star Barun Sobti,Shahana Goswami, Rasika Dugal,Avinash Tiwari, Vishal Malhotra, and Maanvi Gagroo and tells the story of five amateur footballers and their everyday struggles in Mumbai.
 The India Gold jury is headed by Turkish film director Reha Erdem and consists of composer Mychael Danna who won both the Oscar and the Golden Globe for Life of Pi. Time magazine film  critic Stephanie Zacharek, Taiwanese film director and photographer Yonfan.
 Portuguese filmmaker Miguel Gomes heads the international jury which includes our very own Anurag Kashyap, producer Christine Vachon whose films include Carol, Still Alice and Boys Don't Cry, Chris McDonald, President of Hot Docs, the largest documentary film festival in North America, Writer Director and photographer Tala Hadid whose short film 'Tes Cheveux Noirs Ihsan', won an Academy Award. Miguel Gomes's last film 'The Arabian Nights Trilogy' had its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival. An earlier film Tabu won the Fipresci prize at the Berlin Film Festival in 2012.
Film fans can look forward to 'I, Daniel Blake' by Ken Loach, 'Certain Women' by Kelly Reichardt, 'Graduation' by Cristian Mungiu, 'Things to Come' by Mia Hansen-Love, 'Elle' by Paul Verhoeven, 'Neruda' by Pablo Larrain,'Lady of the Lake' by Haobam Paban Kumar,'Autohead' by Rohit Mittal, 'The Cinema Travellers' by Shirley Abraham and Amit Madheshiya, and'Lipstick Under My Burkha' by Alankrita Shrivastav."
In the Restored classics segment  are the 1965 Polish swashbuckler The Sargossa Manuscript and the 1959 Pakistani-Bangladeshi film Jaago Hua Savera ( The Day Shall Dawn) Directed by A.J. Kardar from a screenplay by  poet Faiz Ahmad Faiz and based on an original story by Manik Bandopadhay, The film also has actors from the Indian People's Theatre Association and  was Pakistan’s entry to the Oscars for the best foreign film. Interestingly, it is the only film from Pakistan at MAMI. 
MAMI,an acronym for the Mumbai Academy of Moving Image was founded in 1997 by a group of film industry stalwarts headed by the late Hrishikesh Mukherjee.
 Oxfam India, a leading non-profit organization, works together with people to end the injustice of povertyand inequality,and strive for a just world is where everyone can exercise their right to a life free from fear and violence.Oxfam India’s programmes are currently active in the six focus states of Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha and Uttar Pradesh.



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About Ronita Torcato

Torcato Agnela Ronita
An incomplete round-up of movie news, features & views from an independent journo & (dare I say it:-) film critic in Mumbai



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